Tjada McKenna is the Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future and Jonathan Shrier is Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security and Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy for Feed the Future.
This post was originally featured on FeedtheFuture.gov
In May 2012 we answered a few of the most common questions about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in the blog post Five Questions about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. This blog post follows with additional answers to other common questions about the New Alliance and progress.
1. What has happened with the New Alliance since the G8 announced it at the Camp David Summit in May 2012?
While it has only been a few months, we’re excited about the progress and momentum of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which is a unique partnership between African governments, members of the G8, and the private sector to work together to accelerate investments in agriculture to improve productivity, livelihoods and food security for smallholder farmers. This New Alliance aims to raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through sustained and inclusive agricultural growth.
In May, President Obama launched the New Alliance with three initial countries—Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania. Each partner country developed a Country Cooperation Framework outlining key commitments by governments, donors, and the private sector. These commitments totaled more than $3 billion from more than 45 African and multinational companies.
Over the past 4 months, 21 additional private sector companies, most of them African, signed letters of intent, committing themselves to invest an additional $500 million in African agriculture—and more companies are lining up to sign letters of intent.
We’ve been very encouraged that despite some unexpected and difficult leadership transitions in Ghana and Ethiopia, the governments of all three initial New Alliance countries demonstrated continued country ownership, hosting New Alliance planning meetings. A wide range of stakeholders, including senior government officials, the private sector, and civil society met to discuss:
- The alignment of New Alliance activities with existing country plans, processes and institutions.
- Progress against policy reform commitments to create a positive enabling environment for the private sector.
- Coordination of all partners to achieve shared objectives.
- Priority-setting to show tangible outcomes and progress in the near term.
- A way forward with tracking New Alliance implementation in each country.
And three more African countries have developed—jointly with private sector and G8 partners—their own Country Cooperation Frameworks. Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique officially announced these new frameworks on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York City in September 2012.
2. What is the relationship between the Feed the Future initiative and the New Alliance?
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a commitment made by the G8 leaders to work in close partnership with African governments and the private sector toward a common goal to raise productivity and address global food security, nutrition and poverty. As a G8 member, the United States contributes to this new global partnership through whole-of-government efforts such as President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future.
Feed the Future embodies many of the core principles of the New Alliance, including:
- Strengthening and building upon existing country plans and processes.
- Coordinating and collaborating with other donors to create transformative change in a country.
- Leveraging innovation and private sector investment to transform agricultural value chains for smallholder farmers, especially women.
3. How does nutrition factor in to the New Alliance?
The United States and other G8 members are committed to improving global nutrition, especially for women and children. And we recognize that nutrition interventions historically have high rates of return on impacting development.
In the context of the New Alliance, the G8 committed to:
- Actively support the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and welcome the commitment of African partners to improve the nutritional well-being of their populations, especially during the critical first 1,000 days from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday.
- Improve tracking and disbursements for nutrition across sectors and ensure coordination of nutrition activities across sectors.
- Support the accelerated release, adoption and consumption of biofortified crop varieties, crop diversification, and related technologies to improve the nutritional quality of food in Africa.
- Develop a nutrition policy research agenda and support the efforts of African institutions, civil society and private sector partners to establish regional nutritional learning centers.
4. How will the New Alliance ensure that partners uphold their commitments?
In order to implement and track progress of the New Alliance over time, we are implementing a new approach to development that enlarges the development sphere beyond the donor and partner government paradigm to include private sector and civil society actors and build upon existing effective and collaborative accountability initiatives. Impact for smallholder farmers and women at the country level drives this new approach.
The New Alliance is committed to mutual accountability of all partners, and partners have expressed a strong desire to ensure that activities and investments are consistent with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment.
The New Alliance intends to build on the accountability work of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program and L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, which respectively track the commitments, investments and impacts of African governments and donors. At the Camp David Summit, the G8 agreed to convene a Leadership Council to drive and track implementation. This Council will report to the G8 and African Union on progress toward achieving the commitments under the New Alliance, including commitments made by the private sector.
The G8 also agreed to report to the 2013 Summit on the implementation of the New Alliance (including the actions of the private sector) in collaboration with the African Union. The Leadership Council convened its first meeting in September 2012 and continues to discuss options about how to best ensure mutual accountability.
5. Why does the New Alliance focus on Africa? What is the United States doing to improve food security elsewhere in the world?
As part of our commitment to do development differently and work in partnership behind country-led plans, the New Alliance is working in partnership to strengthen African commitments to promote and protect food security and nutrition—articulated in multiple settings since 2003 and validated by tremendous progress made in Africa since 2009.
Africa is home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies and the rate of return on foreign investment is higher in Africa than in any other developing region. Doing business in Africa makes good business sense. It is a growing place of opportunity for both business and agriculture. The New Alliance is combining smart assistance with leveraged private sector investments in African agriculture to benefit both resource-poor smallholder farmers and increase private sector growth.
While the New Alliance focuses on Africa, the U.S. Government also works to improve food security—in partnership with countries—throughout the world through the Feed the Future initiative.
Read more about the New Alliance on the Feed the Future website.
Tjada McKenna is Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future and Jonathan Shrier is Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security and Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy for Feed the Future